Accuracy in Media

    In the aftermath of the attack on the USS Cole, the CBS program 60 Minutes aired an interview with “terrorism czar” Richard Clarke on October 22nd. Clarke, who is responsible for counter-terrorism at the National Security Council, said the U.S. was trying to determine who staged that attack, and he suggested it may have been committed by Osama bin Laden. He also warned that terrorists have infiltrated the U.S. and that it was just a matter of time before American territory was the site of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack. He took correspondent Lesley Stahl on a visit to one of eight secret pharmaceutical stockpiles the U.S. maintains in case of a terrorist attack.

    Considering Clinton’s history of using the military for political purposes, Lesley Stahl should have questioned why Clarke was suddenly sitting down for a rare TV interview. Was Clarke setting the stage for another use of military force? But she didn’t bring it up. She also didn’t mention that, if there is a potential terrorist problem in America, it is because terrorists can enter the U.S. almost at will across our southern border.

    Last June a presidential commission on terrorism issued a report noting that 4 million persons reside illegally in this country and that “Almost half of them entered the country without inspection, meaning they crossed U.S. borders between inspection stations or entered by small boat or aircraft.” The report said that only a “minuscule portion of all foreigners in the United States attempt to harm the country in any way,” but it didn’t explain how many this was. Could it be several hundred or several thousand?

    At the same time that Richard Clarke was on 60 Minutes warning of terrorists on American soil, his Administration was trying to get Congress to pass another amnesty for illegal aliens. The last amnesty in 1986 increased illegal immigration in the years that followed.

    In his new book, “Sellout”, on the Clinton impeachment, David Schippers examines how the Clinton Administration opened the country to criminals and potential terrorists. He examined the 1996 “Citizenship USA” program to grant citizenship to thousands of aliens the Administration thought would vote Democratic. Under the law, only qualified immigrants with no significant criminal history may be admitted. But Schippers found more than 75,000 new citizens had arrest records when they applied for citizenship. Another 176,000 citizens did not have their fingerprints checked for criminal records.

    On the day Clarke appeared on 60 Minutes, the bankruptcy of U.S. terrorism policy was exposed in stories about how some American victims of terrorism were getting financial settlements for their suffering. It sounded good, except when you read the fine print and realized that American taxpayers were financing most of the settlements. In other words, Americans were paying for crimes committed against our fellow citizens. The Clinton Administration insisted on this approach because it didn’t want to go after the frozen financial assets of foreign regimes such as Iran that actually carried out the terrorist acts. Richard Clarke wasn’t asked about that.

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